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FSSAI signs MoU with ASCI to control misleading F&B ads

MUMBAI: Continuing with the momentum towards supporting co-regulation in advertising, the Food Safety & Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has signed an MoU with the Advertising Standard Council of India (ASCI).

Addressing the cases of misleading advertisements in the food and beverage (F&B) sector, the ASCI will comprehensively monitor these advertisements across various media.

The FSSAI has given a suo moto monitoring mandate to the ASCI to process complaints against misleading F&B advertisements. The ASCI will also report non-compliance of decisions to the FSSAI for further action as required under provisions of the FSSAI Act.

The FSSAI received cases of misleading advertisements through the Grievances against Misleading Advertisements (GAMA) portal. Out of 21 cases received to date, FSSAI has disposed six cases and the remaining cases are in different stages of scrutiny/disposal.

The FSSAI will also redirect complaints against misleading F&B ads to the ASCI, which the ASCI will review using its codes and guidelines. The review will include violation of the FSSAI Act and regulations related to advertisements making misleading, unsubstantiated or false claims.

This partnership will put in place a mechanism to monitor misleading advertisements and will lead to the effective streamlining of advertisements through structured guidelines and appropriate action.

FSSAI CEO Pawan Agarwal said, “The FSSAI has taken a serious view of misleading advertisements related to food and, to effectively handle the same, it has entered into MoU with the ASCI, which shall provide paradigm shift towards handling such scenario and shall also bring transparency and accountability with stakeholders’ participation.”

ASCI chairman Benoy Roychowdhury added, “We are delighted that the ASCI’s self-regulatory process on advertising content is getting recognition from various government bodies and the partnership with the FSSAI will augment our efforts in curtailing misleading advertisements. F&B products are consumed on a daily basis impacting the health and well-being of millions of consumers. Reining in misleading advertisements for this important sector would be a key priority for the ASCI.”